Reminiscences of a Startup Founder #1 (The Burden of Fund Raising)

It was March 2000. We had just received the funding amount of approximately INR 86 lakhs in our bank. My co founder and I went to celebrate but I was super tense. I could not figure why. I slept poorly for a couple of nights.

After a few days I realised I felt like in debt, like a weight on my shoulders because of the funding. I had this strong need to pay these guys back to feel light again. I tried rationalizing saying it was risk capital. Helped a little but the weight remained.

The great dotcom crash ensued in 2000, blowing apart all our plans of grandeur. Fast forward to September 2001, we were on the brink of closing down. Somehow we soldiered on.

Things improved but something stayed with me. We had raised 200k USD at a valuation of 800k making us worth 1 million USD post money. I got it into my head that we needed to have 1 million USD unencumbered cash in the company to be truly worth 1 million USD.

It took about 7 years but we got there. For reference, USD was about 50 INR back then. It was the most satisfying moment of my career. We did a buyback for investors too. Some chose to remain and still with us…post 2008 there was a twist in the tale but that’s for another day.


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